You're invited to a live Axios interview this Wednesday morning in D.C. with top White House economic advisor Gary Cohn. RSVP here. Expect lots of talk about taxes and 2018 agenda items. Okay, here we go...
Axios has learned that futuristic transportation startup Virgin Hyperloop One has agreed to raise $50 million in new private funding from existing investors Caspian Venture Capital (Russia) and DP World (Dubai). It also plans to name Richard Branson as chairman, while co-founder Shervin Pishevar has formally resigned his co-chairman role.
• More deal scoop: Amazon is in advanced talks to buy Sqrrl, a Massachusetts-based cyber "threat hunting" company whose founders used to work for the NSA. No final signatures yet, but word is that the price-tag is just a bit above $40 million (which repays the VCs, but not too much else).
• More Branson-related news: When Alaska Airlines purchased Virgin America last year, it did more than freak out fans of dance-centric airline safety videos. It also merged the country's most fuel-efficient airline (Alaska) with its least fuel-efficient airline (Virgin America). More here.
• Macro M&A: The healthcare consolidation trend is expected to continue this week, as insurer Humana reportedly is in final talks to purchase acute care provider Kindred Healthcare. The deal could value Kindred at around $750 million (not including $3.2b of long-term debt), with private equity firms TPG Capital and Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe playing buy-side roles. Don't be surprised to see an official announcement within the next 24 hours.
• Tax talk: It appears that the GOP tax bill will become law later this week, even though key vote Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) admits that he didn't read the actual text before pledging his support. Here's an easy-to-understand primer on the key changes. Some additional details:
Jerry Richardson announced that he plans to sell the Carolina Panthers at the end of the NFL season, just hours after Sports Illustrated reported that the team settled with four employees over alleged workplace misconduct by Richardson. The claims included repeated sexual harassment against female employees and that Richardson directed a racial slur toward an African-American scout.
🚑 Aptinyx, an Evanston, Ill.-based developer of therapeutics for treating neurologic disorders, has raised $70 million in Series B funding. Bain Capital Life Sciences led, and was joined by Adage Capital, Agent Capital, HBM Healthcare Investments, Nan Fung Life Sciences, Partner Fund Management, Rock Springs Capital and return backers New Leaf Venture Partners, Frazier Healthcare Partners, Longitude Capital, Osage University Partners, Adams Street Partners, LVP Life Science Ventures, PathoCapital, Goudy Park Capital, Beecken Petty O'Keefe & Co. and Northwestern University. www.Aptinyx.com
• Quinyx, a Stockholm-based provider of workforce management software, has raised $12 million in new funding led by Battery Ventures. http://axios.link/GAHo
• Mirror, a San Francisco-based maker of a custom emoji keyboard that utilizes facial recognition, has raised $3.5 million from SoftBank Group, Greylock Ventures, SV Angel, Peter Thiel, Y Combinator, I2BF, Data Collective, Peter Diamandis and Kevin Durant. http://axios.link/0Z8X
• Fano Labs, a Long Kong-based developer of AI-based call center software, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Horizons Ventures. http://axios.link/5y14
• Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire Phoenix Services, a Kennett Square, Penn-based provider of steel mill support services, from Olympus Partners. No financial terms were disclosed, although an earlier report suggested that Phoenix Services could garner nearly $900 million. http://axios.link/nB4w
🚑 Beecken Petty O'Keefe & Co. has acquired Zenith American, a Mokena, Ill.-based administrator of benefits to Taft-Hartley trust funds, from Water Street Healthcare Partners. www.zenith-american.com
• The Blackstone Group has agreed to acquire an 80% stake in La Trobe Financing, an Australian mortgage lender. http://axios.link/koTl
🚑 The Carlyle Group and Level Equity have agreed to acquire Net Health, a Pittsburgh-based provider of software for healthcare professionals, from Spectrum Equity. www.nethealth.com
• Dalmore Capital and GLIL Infrastructure have agreed to acquire a minority stake in UK utility Anglian Water for £395 million from 3i Group. http://axios.link/QxlM
• Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality, an India-based casual dining company, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from L Catterton Asia. http://axios.link/XGMT
• Fireman Capital Partners has agreed to acquire tea brands Sweet Leaf Tea and Tradewinds from Nestle North America. http://axios.link/HAoO
Sentinel Capital Partners has acquired Captain D's, a Nashville-based franchisor and operator of 530 quick-serve seafood restaurants in 21 states, from Centre Partners. www.captainds.com
• Thomas H. Lee Partners has agreed to invest more than $100 million into Chicago-based mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate for a minority stake. http://axios.link/d51y
• Global A&T Electronics, a Singapore-based chip assembler acquired in 2013 by Affinity Equity Partners and TPG Capital, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. http://axios.link/ig6E
• Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) has agreed to acquire Amplify Snack Brands (NYSE: BETR), an Austin, Texas-based snack-maker whose brands include SkinnyPop, for $1.6 billion. The $12 per share price represents a 71% premium to Friday's close. http://axios.link/9ySh
• Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) has agreed to acquire Aconex (ASX: ACX), an Australian maker of collaboration software for the construction market, for US$1.2 billion. http://axios.link/5kJQ
• Tencent and JD.com have agreed to pay $863 million for a 12.5% stake in Chinese e-commerce company Vipshop (NYSE: VIPS). http://axios.link/lq98
• Thai Beverage has agreed to acquire a 54% stake in Vietnamese brewer Sabeco for around $5 billion, via a privatization auction. http://axios.link/HCXw
• Thales (Paris: HO) has agreed to acquire Dutch cybersecurity company Gemalto (Amsterdam: ATO) for 4.8 billion, topping an earlier €4.3 billion offer from Atos (Paris: ATO). http://axios.link/9SqY
• Vonovia, a German residential property company, has agreed to acquire Austrian peer Buwog for approximately €5.2 billion. http://axios.link/PG2l
• Olympus Partners, a Stamford, Conn.-based private equity firm, has closed its seventh fund with $3.04 billion in capital commitments. www.olympuspartners.com
• TPG Capital has closed its fourth growth equity fund with $3.7 billion in capital commitments. www.tpggrowth.com
• Trilantic Capital Partners is raising upwards of $2.25 billion for its sixth flagship buyout fund, per an SEC filing. www.trilantic.com
• Warburg Pincus has closed its first financial services-focused fund with $2.3 billion in capital commitments. www.warburgpincus.com
• Ares Management said that Michael Arougheti will take over as CEO from Tony Ressler, who will serve as executive chairman. It also announced that CFO Michael McFerran will add COO to his title. www.aresmgmt.com